The losses are enormous in this case. More over half a million Brazilians have died as a result of Covid 19, second only to the United States in terms of death toll. Experts anticipate that their country will soon overtake the United States.
How did it get to this point in a middle-income country, with a well-established disease-vaccination system? For many, Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right president, bears culpability. Josildo de Moura would have celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary in December if he had lived. Instead, in May, the devoted husband and father of five died of Covid 19 outside a neighborhood clinic on the outskirts of So Paulo, gasping for air. He was 62 years old and, like the vast majority of Brazilians, had yet to receive his vaccination.
The handling of the pandemic is being analyzed by the Brazilian senate even as the country is still burying its dead. The proceedings, which began in April, are streamed live on the internet. For many in this town, they’ve become must-see television, a type of tragic telenovela with explosive testimony.
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A representative from the vaccine maker Pfizer provided particularly devastating evidence. Last year, he told the panel, the business offered to sell the government vaccines several times. It went unnoticed for months. More than a hundred emails went unanswered.
“Two jabs in the arms of Brazilians save lives,” he explained. “We could have spared a lot more deaths if the government had purchased vaccinations sooner. We have a President that is unconcerned about science. He believes in the concept of herd immunity.” The senator argues that his investigation is apolitical. “The virus has no preference for political parties,” he explained. “Everyone is going to die.”
Covid-19 has been dismissed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff since the beginning of the outbreak, referring to it as “a small flu.” When asked about the virus’s deaths last year, he answered, “that’s a question for a grave digger.”
Cida de Moura is baffled as to how he is still in government with so many people dead. She told us, “He is still in power as if nothing occurred.” “He ought to have been kicked out. I’d want to hear that Bolsonaro is no longer the president of Brazil.”
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